Healthier Living with Chronic Conditions

Healthier LivingI recently attended a training to be certified to teach the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management program.  I have been wanting to teach this class for several years.  I was excited to learn that I would not only get to attend the training, but that I had an opportunity to attend at no cost and that it was being held in my hometown.  Normally the course is held at Stanford and it was going to cost the hospital around $1500 to send me.  What a blessing!

The training was much more valuable than I expected.  I learned the practical aspect of how to teach the class.  I also learned what a powerful tool this could be to help others become better self-managers.  It all revolves around giving people the tools they need and empowering them to take charge of their own lives.

Throughout the training we not only learned how to be instructors, but we also learned the same things a participant in the class will learn.  We were expected to participate and set action plans.  We reported our progress and encouraged each other and helped each other identify barriers and come up with new solutions.  We left the class with a certificate and with motivation to become better self-managers ourselves.

The subjects covered in the Healthier Living with Chronic Conditions class are 1) techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation, 2) appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance, 3) appropriate use of medications, 4) communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals, 5) nutrition, 6) decision making, and, 7) how to evaluate new treatments.If you are dealing with a chronic condition or if you care for someone with a chronic condition, I recommend you look for a class near you.  Check with your local Public Health Department for more information.  If you are in the Red Bluff, CA area you can call 1-888 – 628-1948  for more information on class dates and times.

Obstacles or Opportunities?

JayHewitt2009With New Year’s resolutions right around the corner it’s a good tome to talk about overcoming obstacles.  In November I participated at a vendor’s table during a diabetes symposium.    Teaching about diabetes is one of my passions.  I was representing the hospital where I work and it was part of my job, but it felt more like a privilege.   I met so many fantastic people.Yes, I was working on a Saturday but I got to listen to several great presenters and learn more about how I can help people facing diabetes or at risk for diabetes.

One of the presenters was a man named Jay Hewitt.  Jay was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 24.  After his diagnosis he began running triathalons, including the daunting Iron Man triathalon to prove that diabetes could not stop him from achieving his dreams.  He not only began running triathalons but he made the U.S. National Team.  His attitude about his diabetes impressed me the most.  This quote from his website (jayhewitt.com) sums it all up.  “To me racing Ironman with diabetes is an opportunity, not an obstacle. An opportunity to discover how strong you are, to prove that you have the discipline and determination to achieve your personal and professional goals no matter what the obstacles, and set an example for others. There will always be challenges in business and life so turn a negative into a positive. Use it as motivation. There are a lot worse things that could happen to us in life, so we must play the cards we are dealt. The more we must overcome, the greater the satisfaction and pride when we do. That pride lasts so much longer than the pain, and reaching your personal and business Finish Line requires balance, determination and Finish Line Vision.”

Do you have a vision of your finish line?  What barriers do you see that you will need to overcome to cross over that finish line?  I hope this lesson from Jay will help you realize that your barriers may actually be opportunities.

Am I at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

Many people are not aware that you can have diabetes and not even know it.  Type 2 diabetes can come on slowly and the symptoms may be blamed on other causes such as aging, heat, etc.    Unfortunately, during this time damage can be occurring in the body putting the person at risk for diabetes related complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approximately 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. An even more alarming statistic is that 79 million people have prediabetes.  Prediabetes  means that your fasting glucose level (your blood sugar) is above normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.  If you have prediabetes it is important to take steps NOW to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.  In a study by the Diabetes Prevention Program, participants with prediabetes who got 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise and made dietary changes reduced their risk of diabetes by 58%.   Request a free diabetes risk worksheet below to see if you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes.

What is the danger in ignoring diabetes?

High blood sugar levels are toxic to the body.  It damages blood vessels and nerves leading to such complications as:

  • heart disease (2-4 times higher than in non-diabetics)
  • stroke  (2-4 times higher than in non-diabetics)
  • kidney disease
  • neuropathy (nerve damage causing numbness and pain)
  • blindness
  • amputations

Take steps now to lower your diabetes risk.  Free coaching available!

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